Hydrangeas - Knowledgebase Question

Question by hjeovine911
May 27, 2010
I have several hydrangeas in my yard which I cut the bare branches off of last year and nothing bloomed. There are blooms appearing now but I would like to know when and how to cut these back so they grow more evenly. Right now some are a little thin and I would like to cut them back so they all grow evenly.

Answer from NGA
May 27, 2010


Sounds like you have big leaf hydrangeas. These develop flowers on new growth which emerges from old wood. This would explain why they did not flower when you pruned off all the old stems last year. The best time to prune these shrubs is in the early spring, just as new buds begin to swell on the old stems. You can shorten the stems to about knee high. The remaining buds will develop into new stems and each will flower. Since yours is blooming now you will want to wait to prune them back. Either wait until the flowers fade, or if you'd rather, you can cut the flowering stems down and take the flowers indoors to enjoy in a vase of water. Either way, when the flowers are gone, prune the flowering stem down to about the middle of the shrub. New stems will grow from below the pruning cut to help fill in the shrub. Best wishes with your hydrangeas.

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